Band and chorus students end their trip on a high note



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GHS Chorus Director Denise Sanborn and choir member Kelly Welch stand with their trophy, received at Hershey Park. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
May 18, 2011
Students returned with more than just chocolate bars during a trip to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania this spring, where both the high school concert choir and symphonic band received an excellent performance rating.

The entire trip ran for three days. Participants visited New York and Philadelphia along the way, and had the chance to enjoy the Hershey theme park for the remainder of the stay after their performance.

Gilford High School band and choir students voyaged to Hershey Park this month to perform in the "Music in the Parks" festival, which band president and vice-president, clarinet player Tim Zimmermann and percussionist Ross Breton, described as an educational experience.

"The trip also served as great education. While schools were ranked as entire concert bands, we also received individual critiques and rankings," said Zimmermann.

Breton, new to this particular trip, said he also appreciated the educational experience and enjoyed the park atmosphere.

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Students Tim Zimmermann and Kelly Welch stand with the GHS choir and band’s well earned trophies during the “Music in the Parks” festival in Pennsylvania. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
As for the GHS concert band, both officers feel that the band is ending their year on a good note, considering the band received an excellent rating in the First Concert Band Division A. In 2010 and 2008, the GHS band received an excellent rating as well, and a superior rating, the highest rank of all, in 2009.

"We lost a lot of strong players in the last few years. This is a reconstructing year, and we are a young band, yet we are doing pretty well," said Breton.

After an annual Monster Band performance with middle school students two weeks ago, these students believe that a few strong eighth grade musicians will also aid in the reconstruction of the band next year.

While the trip was fun, Zimmermann said the end of the year is always a challenge, attempting to juggle class trips, testing, prom, and spring sports, yet worth pursuing all the while.

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GHS Band Director Lyvie Beyrent stands with band members Tim Zimmermann and Ross Breton, displaying their band trophy won at a recent trip to Hershey Park. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
This year, the symphonic band performed the tribal-like song "Dark Lords and Ancient Kings" and a classical number by Bach.

Concert choir seniors Zach Pereira and Alysa Hemcher, a bass and alto vocalist, said as GHS students, the chance to travel to a faraway state was an exciting prospect.

Hemcher traveled to Hershey Park five years ago for her sibling's performance, and had the chance to shine herself this spring.

"The first time, I went along with my sister. It's so cool to travel so far for a competition," said Hemcher. "It's nice to participate in a competition outside of this region and see what other people are doing, and not just the choir right next door."

Pereira added that this new experience also opened his eyes to different competitions and different types of choirs, since GHS was the only concert choir at the festival.

This year, the choir was two points shy of receiving an excellent rating. The choir performed the upbeat song "Festival Gloria" and the inspirational song, "When You Believe."

"Our rating was very good since we have a young choir and lots of freshman this year," said Pereira. "It's also good to get some feedback so we can improve for our home concert."

The current choir also has about eight male bassist vocalists - a factor that judges noted as a positive in their reviews.

It took both band and choir about five weeks to prepare for the "Music in the Parks" festival at Hershey Park. The choir is also scheduled to perform their Monster Concert this Thursday, and perform a piece with middle school students.

Judges praised the GHS band for their "likeness" and ability to play together, and pointed out needed improvements and an increase in "low base sound" or balance. Judges also gave the choir a 10 out of 10 ranking on note accuracy and precision, and noted needed improvements in the pronunciation of works and certain vowels.

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